31 October 2004 | django-1
interesting Republic crime programmer with James Lydon as "average guy" who falls victim to temptation
Although Republic is best known for its westerns and serials, the studio churned out many crime dramas and mysteries over a two-decade period, films that are mostly little-known today. I've tried to see as many of them as possible over the years--some are not good, some are passable, some are much better than they needed to be, and some are gems. This one is certainly above average. James Lydon (best known in his day for the series of Henry Aldrich films, probably best known today for his starring role in the wonderful 1945 PRC rewrite of Hamlet, STRANGE ILLUSION) plays Donald Lewis, a young man working at a low-paying job in the payroll division of a large plant. When a large amount of cash comes through his department for Christmas bonuses, crooks led by Marc Lawrence learn about it and stage a robbery, but they do not get ALL the cash. In the beginning scenes of the film, we see Lydon and his girlfriend lamenting about how they cannot get married because of not having enough money. That "extra" money the criminals did not get could put Lydon on easy street and let him marry his fiancée. Should he or shouldn't he? I think you can guess what he does, and what happens afterwards provides the excitement and plot development of this interesting little film, directed by the prolific R. G. Springsteen. In his "adult" roles in the post-Henry Aldrich period, Lydon always did a convincing job when playing an "average guy" who is hit with unexpected problems. He has many of the same qualities that made James Stewart so good in similar roles. As usual for a Republic film, there is a strong supporting cast, including Rex Lease as a security guard, Iris Adrian as a gangster's moll, and of course the inimitable Marc Lawrence, the archetypal movie gangster (along with Jack La Rue). In some ways, this film reminds me of QUICKSAND, starring Mickey Rooney as a similar poor young workingman who falls victim to temptation, which was made the next year. Overall, OUT OF THE STORM is an above average b-crime entry from Republic. Not an amazing film, and certainly not a noir film in any way, but worth watching for the fan of b-crime films or of Republic Pictures.